Freedom in Christ

Jesus tells us we are free indeed!

Program Transcript

in the United States celebrate our National Holiday on July 4th.
That was the day, back in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was
signed. The actual signing was only one incident in the along sequence of
events that led to establishment of what became the United States, But we
recognize July 4th, 1776, as the birth of our nation.

other things happened that year – some significant, others trivial. For
example, a hurricane hit the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe,
resulting in the sinking of 100 French and Dutch ships, and over 6000 deaths.
Oh – and a New York bar decorated some mixed drinks with bird tails, which
coined the term cocktail.

England, Edward Gibbons published the first volume of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Also, that year, Adam Smith
published his Wealth of Nations,
widely considered the first modern work in the field of economics. It is still
widely influential today.

in 1776, there was something else published, something I think is far more
noteworthy. It was the famous hymn, Rock of Ages, written by August
Montagu Toplady. Historian Mark Noll suggests that it might actually be the
most consequential publishing event that year. Rock of Ages is one of
the two most reprinted hymns in Christian history. The words read like a good
sermon, or almost like Scripture:

Rock of Ages, cleft
for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Not the labours of my hands, Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone: Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

is a lot of very sound theology wrapped up in that verse. It transcends
denominational lines and national borders, and reminds us, whomever and
wherever we are, of our most important citizenship. As Paul wrote to the
church in Philippi:

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we
eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power
that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our
lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians

United States was founded on the principle that all people are created equal,
and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When we
pledge allegiance to our flag, we are reminded that it stands for liberty and
justice for all. I am extremely grateful to be a citizen of a nation that
values freedom.

there is no freedom equivalent to the freedom we have in Christ. Sometimes
when we celebrate an event, our joy takes us to a higher place. So let us
also, even more, celebrate our freedom in Christ. Jesus came to us, hidden in
the Trinity, birthed in the most humble of circumstances, dying on a cross.
He revealed God’s infinite, perfect love to us, and we do well to recognize
his suffering as a gift that grants us a freedom of cosmic proportions – a true
freedom that flows from faith, hope and love, and that leads to freedom, to
truth, to goodness, to beauty – that leads to life eternal in fellowship with
the Triune God.

the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: “It is for freedom that Christ has
set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by
a yoke of slavery.”